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/document/v1 API reference

This is the /document/v1 API reference documentation. Use this API for synchronous Document operations to a Vespa endpoint - refer to reads and writes for other options.

The document/v1 API guide has examples and use cases.

Many of the examples uses number and group document id modifiers. Do note that these are special cases that only work as expected for document types with mode=streaming or mode=store-only. Do not use group or number modifiers with regular indexed mode document types.


To enable the API, add document-api in the serving container cluster - services.xml:


HTTP requests

HTTP request document/v1 operation Description

Get a document by ID or Visit a set of documents by selection.

Get Get a document:
Optional parameters:

Iterate over and get all documents, or a selection of documents, in chunks, using continuation tokens to track progress. Visits are a linear scan over the documents in the cluster.

It is possible to specify namespace and document type with the visit path:
Documents can be grouped to limit accesses to a subset. A group is defined by a numeric ID or string — see id scheme.
Mandatory parameters:
  • cluster - Visits can only retrieve data from one content cluster, so cluster must be specified for requests at the root /document/v1/ level, or when there is ambiguity. This is required even if the application has only one content cluster.
Optional parameters:
  • bucketSpace - Parent documents are global and in the global bucket space. By default, visit will visit non-global documents in the default bucket space, unless document type is indicated, and is a global document type.
  • concurrency - Use to configure backend parallelism for each visit HTTP request.
  • continuation
  • fieldSet
  • selection
  • sliceId
  • slices - Split visiting of the document corpus across more than one HTTP request—thus allowing the concurrent use of more HTTP containers—use the slices and sliceId parameters.
  • stream - It's recommended enabling streamed HTTP responses, with the stream parameter, as this reduces memory consumption and reduces HTTP overhead.
  • timeout
  • tracelevel
  • wantedDocumentCount

Put a given document, by ID, or Copy a set of documents by selection from one content cluster to another.

Put Write the document contained in the request body in JSON format.
Optional parameters:

Write documents visited in source cluster to the destinationCluster in the same application. A selection is mandatory — typically the document type. Supported paths (see visit above for semantics):

Mandatory parameters: Optional parameters:

Update a document with the given partial update, by ID, or Update where the given selection is true.

Update Update a document with the partial update contained in the request body in the document JSON format.
Optional parameters:
Update where

Update visited documents in cluster with the partial update contained in the request body in the document JSON format. Supported paths (see visit above for semantics):

Mandatory parameters: Optional parameters:

Remove a document, by ID, or Remove where the given selection is true.

Remove Remove a document.
Optional parameters:
Delete where

Delete visited documents from cluster. Supported paths (see visit above for semantics):

Mandatory parameters: Optional parameters:

Request parameters

Parameter Type Description
bucketSpace String

Specify the bucket space to visit. Document types marked as global exist in a separate bucket space from non-global document types. When visiting a particular document type, the bucket space is automatically deduced based on the provided type name. When visiting at a root /document/v1/ level this information is not available, and the non-global ("default") bucket space is visited by default. Specify global to visit global documents instead. Supported values: default (for non-global documents) and global.

cluster String

Name of content cluster to GET from, or visit.

concurrency Integer

Sends the given number of visitors in parallel to the backend, improving throughput at the cost of resource usage. Default is 1. When stream=true, concurrency limits the maximum concurrency, which is otherwise unbounded, but controlled by a dynamic throttle policy.

condition String

For test-and-set. Run a document operation conditionally — if the condition fails, a 412 Precondition Failed is returned. See example.

continuation String

When visiting, a continuation token is returned as the "continuation" field in the JSON response, as long as more documents remain. Use this token as the continuation parameter to visit the next chunk of documents. See example.

create Boolean

If true, updates to non-existent documents will create an empty document to update. See create if nonexistent.

destinationCluster String

Name of content cluster to copy to, during a copy visit.

dryRun Boolean

Used by the vespa-feed-client using --speed-test for bandwidth testing, by setting to true.

fieldSet String

A field set string with the set of document fields to fetch from the backend. Default is the special [document] fieldset, returning all document fields. To fetch specific fields, use the name of the document type, followed by a comma-separated list of fields (for example music:artist,song to fetch two fields declared in music.sd).

route String

The route for single document operations, and for operations generated by copy, update or deletion visits. Default value is default. See routes.

selection String

Select only a subset of documents when visiting — details in document selector language.

sliceId Integer

The slice number of the visit represented by this HTTP request. This number must be non-negative and less than the number of slices specified for the visit.

slices Integer

Split the document corpus into this number of independent slices. This lets multiple, concurrent series of HTTP requests advance the same logical visit independently, by specifying a different sliceId for each.

stream Boolean

Whether to stream the HTTP response, allowing data to flow as soon as documents arrive from the backend. This obsoletes the wantedDocumentCount parameter. The HTTP status code will always be 200 if the visit is successfully initiated. Default value is false.

timeChunk String

Target time to spend on one chunk of a copy, update or remove visit; with optional ks, s, ms or µs unit. Default value is 60.

timeout String

Request timeout in seconds, or with optional ks, s, ms or µs unit. Default value is 180s.

tracelevel Integer

Number in the range [0,9], where higher gives more details. The trace dumps which nodes and chains the document operation has touched. See routes.

wantedDocumentCount Integer

Best effort attempt to not respond to the client before wantedDocumentCount number of documents have been visited. Response may still contain fewer documents if there are not enough matching documents left to visit in the cluster, or if the visiting times out. This parameter is intended for the case when you have relatively few documents in your cluster and where each visit request would otherwise process only a handful of documents.

The maximum value of wantedDocumentCount is bounded by an implementation-specific limit to prevent excessive resource usage. If the cluster has many documents (on the order of tens of millions), there is no need to set this value.

Request body

POST and PUT requests must include a body for single document operations, and PUT for update visits. A field has a value for a POST and an update operation object for PUT. Documents and operations use the document JSON format. The document fields must match the schema:

    "fields": {
        "<fieldname>": "<value>"
    "fields": {
        "<fieldname>": {
            "<update-operation>" : "<value>"

Values for id / put / update in the request body are silently dropped. The ID is generated from the request path, regardless of request body data - example:

    "put"   : "id:mynamespace:music::123",
    "fields": {
        "title": "Best of"

This makes it easier to generate a feed file that can be used for both the vespa-feed-client and this API.

HTTP status codes

Non-exhaustive list of status codes:

Code Description
200 OK. Attempts to remove or update a non-existent document also yield this status code (see 412 below).
400 Bad request. Returned for undefined document types + other request errors. See 13465 for defined document types not assigned to a content cluster when using PUT. Inspect message for details.
404 Not found; the document was not found. This is only used when getting documents.
412 condition is not met. Inspect message for details. This is also the result when a condition if specified, but the document does not exist.
429 Too many requests; the document API has too many inflight feed operations, retry later.
500 Server error; an unspecified error occurred when processing the request/response.
502 Bad gateway; the document API gave an error response.
503 Service unavailable; the document API was unable to produce a response at this time.
504 Gateway timeout; the document API failed to respond within the given (or default 180s) timeout.
507 Insufficient storage; the content cluster is out of memory or disk space.

HTTP response headers

Header Values Description
X-Vespa-Ignored-Fields true

Will be present and set to 'true' only when a put or update contains one or more fields which were ignored since they are not present in the document type. Such operations will be applied exactly as if they did not contain the field operations referencing non-existing fields. References to non-existing fields in field paths are not detected.

Response format

Responses are in JSON format, with the following fields:

Field Description
pathIdRequest URL path — always included.
messageAn error message — included for all failed requests.
idDocument ID — always included for single document operations, including Get.
fieldsThe requested document fields — included for successful Get operations.
documents[]Array of documents in a visit result — each document has the id and fields.
documentCountNumber of visited and selected documents.
continuationToken to be used to get the next chunk of the corpus - see continuation.

GET can include a fields object if a document was found in a GET request

    "pathId": "<pathid>",
    "id":     "<id>",
    "fields": {

A GET visit result can include an array of documents plus a continuation:

    "pathId":    "<pathid>",
    "documents": [
            "id":     "<id>",
            "fields": {
    "continuation": "<continuation string>",
    "documentCount": 123

A continuation indicates the client should make further requests to get more data, while lack of a continuation indicates an error occurred, and that visiting should cease, or that there are no more documents.

A message can be returned for failed operations:

    "pathId":  "<pathid>",
    "message": "<message text>"